February 2022 Deal Announcements

Adult Fiction and Poetry

Haley Jakobson‘s OLD ENOUGH, a coming-of-age novel about a bisexual college sophomore who is reveling in the joy of discovering and being embraced by a queer community—and nursing a face-burning crush on someone in her gender and sexuality class—while grappling with the tumultuous history between her and her childhood best friend and the promises they made to each other long before they realized how hard it would be to keep them, pitched as for fans of ONE LAST STOP and QUEENIE, to Pilar Garcia-Brown at Dutton, by Ayla Zuraw-Friedland at Frances Goldin Literary Agency (world).

Author of the forthcoming REPUTATION Lex Croucher‘s INFAMOUS, another Regency-era romantic romp, pitched as BOOKSMART meets DICKINSON with a feminist spin, following an aspiring young novelist who is forced to choose between the attentions of a famous poet and her growing feelings for her best friend, again to Sarah Cantin at Griffin, by Chloe Seager at Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency (NA).

Arden Joy’s LOVE TO HATE YOU, pitched as a romantic comedy remix of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing that transforms ye olde damsels in distress into queer women, women of color, and women overcoming trauma, to Alexandria Brown at Rising Action, in a nice deal, in an exclusive submission, for publication in January 2024.

Spoken word poet Jae Nichelle’s GOD THEMSELVES, a debut poetry collection celebrating of Southern Black womanhood, queerness, and love, in which the speaker envisions who, what, and where God can be, to Jean Lucas at Andrews McMeel, by Amy Elizabeth Bishop at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret (world).

University of Nebraska-Lincoln literature and creative writing instructor Rachel Cochran’s THE GULF, set in post-Vietnam Texas, about a young queer woman exploring a friend’s death at the mysterious, decaying mansion in her hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast hometown, and in the process excavating a tragic and shadowy history that might hold the key not only to a killer’s identity, but also to the secrets of a society that refuses to accept her, to Millicent Bennett at Harper, at auction, by Bill Clegg at The Clegg Agency (NA).

Author of MALICE and the forthcoming MISRULE Heather Walter‘s CRIMSON CROWN, pitched as a Tudor-inspired retelling of the rise of Snow White’s Evil Queen, in which a witch hunted by a zealous king infiltrates the religious faction that seeks to eradicate her kind, and must choose between loyalty to her coven or her heart, to Tricia Narwani at Del Rey, in a good deal, in a two-book deal, for publication in spring 2024, by Laura Crockett at TriadaUS Literary Agency (world).

Richard Natale’s CAFE EISENHOWER, JUNIOR WILLIS, and LOVE ON THE JERSEY SHORE, LGBTQ+ fiction previously published by Bold Strokes Books, to Jay Hartman at Untreed Reads, with K.D. Sullivan editing, in a three-book deal, for publication in fall 2022, by Katie Salvo at Metamorphosis Literary Agency (world).

New York Magazine staff writer Tembe Denton-Hurst’s HOMEBODIES, about a Black lesbian writer whose career and relationship are in jeopardy after she rekindles an old flame from her hometown and her manifesto about being a Black woman in media goes viral, pitched as for fans of THE OTHER BLACK GIRL and MEMORIAL, to Emma Kupor at Harper, in a good deal, at auction, for publication in summer 2023, by Danielle Bukowski at Sterling Lord Literistic (NA).

Author of the memoir STICKER Henry Hoke‘s OPEN THROAT, narrated by a queer and hungry mountain lion on an odyssey through the drought-devastated land beneath the Hollywood Sign, as it observes Los Angeles’s perilous beauty and confronts climate change, inequality, love, and the ultimate question: does it want to eat a human, or become one?, to Jackson Howard at MCD/FSG, at auction, by Jim Rutman at Sterling Lord Literistic (NA).

Lisa Peers‘s LOVE AT 350 DEGREES, a debut lesbian rom-com where sparks fly on the set of the American Bake-o-Rama TV competition between the notoriously ruthless celebrity chef judge and one of the contestants, a high school teacher who yearns to break out of the mold for the first time in her life, to Katy Nishimoto at Dial Press, in a pre-empt, by Frances Black at The Literary Counsel (world).

Publishing director of the Chicago Review of Books and associate editor of A Public Space Sarah Blakley-Cartwright‘s ALICE SADIE CELINE, about a young woman who has an affair with her best friend’s mother and the years that follow, exploring the limits of parental love, female friendship, narcissism, and self-preservation, to Olivia Taylor Smith at Unnamed Press, by Martha Wydysh and Ellen Levine at Trident Media Group (NA).

Author of the cookbook COOKING WITH COCKTAILS and blogger Kristy Gardner‘s THE STARS IN THEIR EYES, pitched as Falling Skies meets The Walking Dead with LGBTQ+ themes, in which a woman’s world starts to crumble, literally, and her partner disappears into the red mist, and she will not let aliens, government soldiers, or a man who seems to know more than he is letting on stop her from finding her partner, to Heather McCorkle at City Owl Press, in a nice deal, for publication in 2023, by Julie Gwinn at The Seymour Agency (world).

Georgetown professor, MacDowell fellow, and international playwright Christine Evans’s NADIA, about a young queer woman who fled to London from the 1990s wars that broke up the former Yugoslavia and foreshadowed today’s rising ethno-nationalism, only to have war trauma and her lover’s mysterious disappearance resurface when a new guy—who she suspects fought for the other side—starts work at her London office job, to Jim McCoy at University of Iowa Press, in a nice deal, for publication in spring 2023, by Jennifer Thompson at Nordlyset Literary Agency (NA).

Cameroonian-based activist and The Moth storyteller Musih Tedji Xaviere’s THESE LETTERS END IN TEARS, about forbidden love and what it means to be gay and Muslim in Cameroon, in which a romance between two young women is violently interrupted by the police and, 15 years down the line and now a university professor, one is still searching for the other, who disappeared at the time, to Megha Majumdar at Catapult, in a pre-empt, by Maria Cardona Serra at Pontas Literary & Film Agency (NA). UK rights to Noemi Vallone at Jacaranda Books.

MacArthur and Cave Canem Fellow and Windham-Campbell Prize winner John Keene’s PUNKS, new and selected poems that weave together narratives of loss, lust, and love in voices spanning the poet’s friends and lovers to historic Black personalities, both familial and famous, to form a poetic symphony capable of addressing gay desire, oppression, AIDS, grief, and joy, to Alan Felsenthal at The Song Cave, by Jonah Straus at Straus Literary (world English).

C.E. McGill’s OUR HIDEOUS PROGENY, pitched as a queer take on the Mary Shelley classic, in which an aspiring paleontologist and great-niece of Victor Frankenstein attempts to make her name in the patriarchal world of Victorian science by creating her own monster, only to reevaluate what monstrous truly means, to Wendy Wong at Harper, in a good deal, in a pre-empt, for publication in spring 2023, by Tamara Kawar at ICM, on behalf of Sue Armstrong at C+W (NA).

Actor and Library of Congress senior advisor Jeffrey Dale Lofton’s RED CLAY SUZIE, the story of a gay, physically misshapen boy of the Deep South who struggles against suffocating expectations, indifference, and rejection to find inner strength in lessons learned in his grandfather’s garden and through his passion for the boy to whom he gives his heart, to Debra Englander at Post Hill Press, in an exclusive submission, for publication in November 2022, by Mona Kanin at Great Dog Literary (world).

Theodore McCombs’s EXIT ARIAS, a story collection spanning past, present, and parallel lives, using space opera, quantum physics, calculus, and ecology to explore themes of queer difference in a monstrous world, pitched as Garth Greenwell meets Ted Chiang; and a follow-up novel expanding on one of the stories, to Deborah Ghim at Astra House, in a two-book deal, for publication in spring 2023, by Kirby Kim at Janklow & Nesbit (world).

Stonewall Award winner and Lambda Literary Award finalist Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s TELL THE REST, about the friendship between a women’s basketball coach and a poet, who are deeply connected by a church-supported conversion therapy camp for teens where they survived and their other friend disappeared, whose missions to understand the events of that summer have landed them both back in Oregon—their paths hurtling toward each other once again, to Johnny Temple at Akashic, for publication in spring 2023, by Reiko Davis at DeFiore and Company (world).

Author of THE NINE Gwen Strauss’s MILENA & MARGARETE: A LOVE STORY IN RAVENSBRUCK, the story of two women’s love in an inhospitable place, interweaved with the story of gay women in the Holocaust, to Elisabeth Dyssegaard at St. Martin’s, by Andy Ross at Andy Ross Agency (world).

Children’s Fiction

Allen Wells‘s picture book IT’S PRIDE, BABY, which introduces young children to the experience of LGBTQIA+ Pride through a parade, with all its love and sense of community, illustrated by India Valle, to Grace Kendall at Farrar, Straus Children’s, for publication in spring 2023, by Erin Murphy at Erin Murphy Literary Agency for the author, and by Christy Tugeau Ewers at The CAT Agency for the illustrator (world).

Debut author Ronnie Riley‘s JUDE SAVES THE WORLD, in which a queer, nonbinary 12-year-old navigates the complexities of identity and friendship as they befriend the ex-popular girl at school, try to start a safe space club at their local library, and come out to their old-fashioned grandparents, to Jeffrey West and Emily Seife at Scholastic, and to Erin Haggett at Scholastic Canada, for publication in spring 2023, by Andrea Walker and Jennifer Azantian at Azantian Literary Agency (world)

Activist, actor, and cat lover Kai Shappley and ZENOBIA JULY author Lisa Bunker’s untitled book, pitched as DUMPLIN’ meets MELISSA, following a 12-year-old girl living life to the fullest, and centering the richness and breadth of trans experience, to Chris Krones at Clarion, for publication in spring 2023, by Laura Thede and Alicia Beekman at DDO Artists Agency for Shappley, and by Jim McCarthy at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret for Bunker (world).

CATTYWAMPUS author Ash Van Otterloo’s SPARROW SHINING BRIGHT, in which the protagonist is sent to live at their estranged aunt’s home after their mother is sent to rehab for opioid addiction, and encounters a mysterious shadow that encourages them to take exciting new risks, including embracing their true gender identity, to Jenne Abramowitz at Scholastic, for publication in 2023, by Lauren Spieller at TriadaUS Literary Agency (world).

Ray Nadine’s STATION SIX, a coming-of-age graphic novel in which queer teens learn to cope with anxiety and loss through the lens of being a competitive gymnast, to Grace Scheipeter at Oni Press, in a nice deal, by Kaitlyn Johnson at Belcastro Agency (world).

Young Adult Fiction

NYT-bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author Courtney Summers’s I’M THE GIRL, a queer thriller pitched as based loosely on the Epstein case, in which two young women team up to find the killer of a 13-year-old girl, and their investigation throws them into a world of unimaginable privilege, wealth, and the fight for their lives, to Sara Goodman at Wednesday Books, for publication in September 2022, by Faye Bender at The Book Group (NA).

Jasmine Skye’s DAUGHTER OF THE BONE FOREST and DAUGHTER OF THE WITCH KING, a debut duology which follows two girls whose fates are intertwined, a powerful shapeshifter farmgirl who resists joining the elite school for witches and shapeshifters, fearing she will be drafted into the king’s army, and the king’s daughter, a powerful witch who is destined to lead the country into bloody war, but can’t help her feelings for the backwater ranch girl who wants no part of it, to Holly West at Feiwel and Friends, in a two-book deal, for publication in winter of 2024 and winter of 2025, by Mary C. Moore at Kimberley Cameron & Associates (world English).

Kosoko Jackson’s THE FOREST DEMANDS ITS DUE, a dark paranormal thriller pitched as THE WITCH HAVEN meets A LESSON IN VENGEANCE, in which a boy must confront centuries of secrets in the school’s past and a vengeful creature in the forest surrounding the campus when the murder of his classmate at an elite boarding school seems to be forgotten overnight, to Karen Chaplin at Quill Tree, in a good deal, in a two-book deal, for publication in fall 2023, by Jim McCarthy at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret (world English).

Author of THE PRETTY ONE, journalist, and creator of #DisabledAndCute Keah Brown’s THE SECRET SUMMER PROMISE, in which a Black girl with cerebral palsy tries to have the #BestSummerEver—movie marathons, amusement parks, art shows—all while navigating her romantic feelings for her best friend without losing their friendship, to Nick Thomas at Levine Querido, for publication in spring 2023, by Alexander Slater at Trident Media Group (world English).


Associate professor of religious, African American, and African studies at the University of Virginia, visual artist, musician, and author of THE LONELY LETTERS Ashon Crawley’s MADE INSTRUMENT, a personal and social history of the Hammond organ, the beating heart of the Black church, and how the magic of the relationship between preacher, choir, and churchgoers spilled out into Black popular music, sexuality, and culture; and BLACK.SOCIAL.LIFE, essays offering seven ways of thinking about Blackness, and asking big questions about spirituality, property (including appropriation), performance, queerness, and hope, to Tom Mayer at Norton, in a two-book deal, by Tanya McKinnon at McKinnon Literary (NA).

Academy Award-nominated actor, producer, and director Elliot Page‘s PAGEBOY, a look into Elliot Page’s journey from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Hollywood; delving into Page’s relationship with his body, his experiences as one of the most famous trans people in the world, and covering mental health, assault, love, relationships, sex, and the cesspool that Hollywood can be, to Bryn Clark at Flatiron Books, in a pre-empt, for publication in 2023, by Pilar Queen and Albert Lee at UTA (US).

Winner of Columbia University’s 2019 Nonfiction Prize Ben Appel‘s CIS WHITE GAY, about growing up in a Christian fundamentalist cult before becoming a gay rights activist while a student at Columbia University, only to encounter there a cultural landscape ruled by gender ideology and a puritanical cult of social justice resembling The Handmaid’s Tale dystopia of his childhood, to Adam Bellow at Bombardier Books, for publication in 2023, by Lisa Bankoff at Bankoff Collaborative (NA).

Author of KIND LIKE MARSHA and QUEER, THERE, AND EVERYWHERE Sarah Prager’s Middle Grad A CHILD’S INTRODUCTION TO PRIDE, an introduction to the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement throughout history with kid-friendly explanations of important terms like identity, gender, and more, illustrated by Caitlin O’Dwyer, to Lisa Tenaglia at Black Dog & Leventhal, by Carrie Howland at Howland Literary for the author and Aurora Barlam at Astound US for the illustrator (world).

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